In the past several decades, Hollywood films have hit the limelight owing to their blockbuster movies. In ensuring the films have a lasting impact on the audiences, the film's progression from development to exhibition follows a rigorous process. In between, it is marred by challenges, but eventually the Blockbuster is finalized. One such example entails the film Jaws by Steven Spielberg. It reveals a touching story mixed with fear and excitement (Blake 23; Brosnan 17). However, Steven Spielberg was not the original play writer as it is based on a novel written by Peter Benchley. Spielberg just made it into a film, which nevertheless became a big hit. During the development of Jaws all way through to its exhibition, the film's production costly in terms of both budget and time. A production and distribution companies were involved, and the film was substantially advertised. Despite the challenges experienced during the film's progression, it finally gained widespread recognition upon its release even though it had some critics. Jaws' progression from development to exhibition turning it into a significant blockbuster amidst the challenges is an inspiration to many filmmakers.
The movie Jaws is based on an original story by Peter Benchley described in a novel by the same name. Benchley talks of the dread caused by a great white killer shark on a fictional island called Amity Island. Fear of the unknown essentially creates a dreadful atmosphere coupled with excitement (Brosnan 11). The story revolves around a mayor called Murray, a law enforcement chief by the name of Brody, marine biologist Hooper, and Quint, an expert shark hunter. The mayor is bent on ensuring constant beach activity for the sake of the economy despite the request from the police chief to safeguard the beachgoers. Nonetheless, he seeks the help of Brody and Hooper to hunt down the killer shark setting the events of a rather horrendous story in motion.
Initially, the filming of the movie was estimated at a budget of $3.5 million and had a shooting time plan of 55 days. Nonetheless, the budget hit $9 million and exceeded the estimated scheduled time.
Copyright Owner of the Story
Peter Benchley is the copyright owner of the story. The author had been considering writing an account of a shark that attacks individuals and the consequences of it coming and refusing to vanish. Essentially, fear attracts a significant audience (Blake 17). This was essentially an idea regarding a great white killer shark terrorizing a beach resort. Accounts from Benchley reveal that he spent a lot of times trying to pick the right title from a list of titles where he viewed as being pretentious, weird and melodramatic (Biskind 2003). The novel was successfully released first in hardcover in 1974 before the film's subsequent release the following year. Spielberg just brought the story to the screens but relishes the marvel of the successful production.
The movie's substantial funding mainly came from producers Zanuck and Brown from Universal Pictures, who separately overhead accounts regarding Benchley's novel called Jaws. The book editor had characteristically noted that the story would make a great movie. After reading the book, the producers each agreed that the story was the most exciting one they had ever read and desired to produce a film version. They bought the film rights in 1973 before the novel's publication at a sum of $175000. The producers then assumed full financing of its production.
Production Companies: An Overview
The production company was Zanuck/Brown Corporation at Universal Pictures. Earlier, Brown and Zanuck joined forces to form an independent production firm called the Zanuck/Brown Corporation. The two successfully produced a few of Spielberg's first movies namely the Sugarland Express and Jaws in 1974 and 1975 respectively. Zanuck/Brown had at first considered hiring Sturges to direct Jaws before opting for Dick Richards. However, they were angered by Richard's persistence in calling the shark ‘the whale' and consequently dropped him (Kilday 6). The producers then signed Spielberg in 1973 to direct the film. The two producers also produced box office hits like Driving Miss Daisy and Cocoon before 1988 when they dissolved their partnership.
Unlike many films of the time, Jaws was filmed in a real-world location, the ocean. The setting had to invoke fear (Lemkin 19; Heath 31). Primary photography was conducted on Martha's Vineyard's Island in Massachusetts. Before production, the producers clarified that the filming required a vacation region that was a significantly lower middle class so that the entry of a shark would sabotage the tourist trade. The island was selected also thanks to the surrounding ocean's sandy bottom, which never exceeded eleven meters for nineteen kilometers out from shore. This essentially permitted the mechanized sharks to function while similarly staying beyond sight of land. Thus, Martha's Vineyard Island was selected as the main production location.
Budget and Shooting Schedule
According to the producers, the film experienced numerous challenges during the shooting, which surpassed the estimated budget. The budget that was estimated at $4 million but the picture finally wound up costing a total $9 million. The schedule was approximated at 55 days but ended up taking more time.
Filming Jaws was marred by many challenges. Filming at sea resulted in numerous delays. Unprecedented sailboats regularly drifted into frame, cameras became soaked, and one time the Orca started to sink with the actors aboard. Another challenge entailed the mechanical sharks, which occasionally malfunctioned due to a myriad of issues including bad weather, frames fracturing owing to water viscosity, pneumatic hoses sucking on salt water, corrosion of skins and electrolysis (Biskind 2003). At first, during the preliminary water test, the non-absorbent froth making the sharks casing drenched up in fluid making the sharks swell and with the sea-sled repeatedly getting ensnared among seaweed. Despite scheduling 12 hours daily for filming, only 4 hours on average were spent actually filming.
Other problems entailed Gottlieb nearly getting killed by the boat's propellers and Dreyfuss nearly getting imprisoned in the steel cage. Additionally, seasickness was common among the actors. Moreover, Shaw frequently flew to Canada whenever issues regarding taxes emerged, participated in drinking and had a grudge and dislike against Dreyfuss, who was characteristically enjoying interviews owing to his role in Duddy Kravitz. Finally, the film editor rarely possessed materials and tools to operate with during principal photography, which made them fail to shoot some scenes as planned.
Universal Pictures was largely involved in the distribution of the blockbuster film Jaws. The corporation is commonly known as simply Universal or Universal Studios and entails a United States movie studio owned by Comcast through its division of fully owned subsidiary NBC Universal. The corporation was established in 1912 by various co-founders and represents the oldest existing movie studio in the U.S. Typically, the distribution firm is held as being one of the topmost Hollywood studios and similarly a Motion Picture Association of America’s affiliate.
Marketing of the Film
The distribution company spent $1.8 million on the promotion of Jaws comprising over seven hundred thousand dollars on national television spot advertising. Characteristically, each night on the prime-time network was the media blitz comprising of nearly two dozen 30-second ads. After the film's release, an inventive approach for the film's marketing was devised. This entailed promoting the paperback version of the novel and the upcoming movie. A title logo was created that would appear in both the paperback versions and in all the film's ads. This represented an aggressive marketing campaign, which put the film into the limelight.
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Merchandise, Promotional Tie-ins
Extra merchandise was made to take advantage of the movie's release. The study has it that the film was accompanied by what was conceivably the utmost elaborate array of tie-ins of any movie ever made. This comprised T-shirts, a soundtrack album, plastic tumblers, the book the film was based on, a book about the creation of the film, toy sharks, posters, beach towels, shark-tooth necklaces, hobby kits, shark costumes, and water pistols among other things. Some corporations went ahead to create games which incorporated a shark and the player.
Jaws release schedules were incorporated together with its consequent sequels. The first movie came out in 1975. The sequels followed with Jaw 2 being released on June the following year. In July 1983 Jaw 3-D was released and the other sequel came on July 1987. A significant part of the release was in box office schedule and was estimated to take around 55 days but ended up taking 159 days.
Domestic and International Box Office and Revenues
The average estimated revenues stand at hundreds of millions of dollars. Nonetheless, the exact number fluctuates according to various statistical sources. The success of the film resulted in three sequels which together with Jaws earned approximately $800 million globally in box office gross. The film represented the first of its kind to employ broad release as a distribution framework.
During 1975 when the film was released, it ran in hundreds of theatres with the figure expanding the ensuing month, hitting a record of the largest simultaneous distribution of a video in motion picture industry at the time (Moritz 39). During the first days after its release, the film earned more than $7 million and became the top grosser for the ensuing few weeks. In 2010, the film grossed a record $470 million being the highest grossing box office film until the debut of Star Wars. Jaw 2 took nearly $30 million in production but brought proceeds of over $81 million in 1978. Jaws 3-D has attained an aggregate lifetime global gross of over $87 million while the third sequel ranked the poorest of the three.
The film's ancillary markets for the film emerged on cable television's Home Box Office (HBO). Another market was opened by HBO and entailed cable TV. Others entail multiplex theatres, celebrity and publicity publications as well as the Television.
Awards and Critical Reception
The movie earned numerous Academy Honors owing to its editing, and sound track. Editing helped it to get many awards (Blake 44). Jaws have been considered one of the first great-concept movies. Nonetheless, the sequels were mostly not as well received. They were compared to Jaws and got severe criticism. Jaws raised a widespread interest in scientific research, which benefitted the researchers. At the same time, the movie made people avoid the oceans as they did not know what creatures' dwelled in them. Many hated the idea of going to the beach (Britton 35). The film was criticized for its depiction of the shark as a monster, which led to their hunt for trophies and commercial purposes.
In conclusion, the film Jaws represents a great blockbuster in the United States film history. It was the first movie shot in the ocean. Many challenges marred the progression of the film from development to exhibition. Such challenges came as the lack of resources, human labor and time, as well as adverse weather and tense relationships between the cast and the crew. Nonetheless, the film overcame the challenges and emerged as a great-selling blockbuster.
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